PREVENTION THROUGH SELF-MANAGEMENT
We wanted to challenge the idea that therapy and wellbeing support for men was a non-starter by making them feel comfortable using it in their own space on their own terms
Discussed as a project in 2017 the feedback was 'you will never get men in Scotland to discuss or engage with their mental health and wellbeing'
We decided to flip this, instead of expecting men to talk, give them the technology they could use and interact anonymously with when, where and for as long as they wanted so that they were in control
An autonomous and self-referring digital platform giving access to NHS approved tech and qualified online therapy support that is private, anonymous, confidential and free
To empower men to self-manage and support their own mental fitness and wellbeing
Proof of concept
Up to 2000 men across Scotland are currently using the online therapy support in addition to 3000 users of the digital content in the app
Every male visiting the website has free access to the BrothersThrive app and can text-chat to one of our qualified therapists at the touch of a button
Call it a project, call it a charity, but we believe we can take it further, are you with us?
The Brothers in Arms service definition:
Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK
We are a 21st Century Charity for the 21st Century male
We believe in Prevention Through Self-Management
We use digital technology to enable them to self-manage, engage and support their own mental health
Private, Anonymous, Confidential and Free
An evidence-based NHS approved app with therapeutic tools and support to improve mental wellbeing, created in partnership with Thrive Therapeutic- to be used by men in Scotland
With 100 hours of content, it's designed to reach peak performance and build resilience of mental wellbeing, the more it's accessed the more it tailors content to each user
And We Do Therapy For Men
Included is an in-app text-based service that guides men to self-management of their own well-being and improved mental fitness
A private and secure system with access to a qualified therapist at the touch of a button to coach you on how you can reach an optimum positive state of mind
You decide When
You decide Where
You decide How long
You are in Control
The Therapy service is 18 plus use only and is available 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays)
We call it 'Prevention Through Self-Management' because waiting until a man reaches crisis before he gets help is like throwing a lifebuoy ring into the water when already drowning
Save the Male
As a man, being affected by mental illness isn't a sign of weakness. The 21st century throws more and more at us that as men we are just not designed to cope with.
There's so much going on, and we can't always be expected to handle it on our own, sooner or later you can become man down.
In this modern world, everyone seems to be connected to everyone else through social media and the internet, yet these connections mean we tend to talk 'at' each other rather than 'to' each other.
Seeking support doesn't make you any less of a man, in fact, it's the exact opposite.
The stereotype that 'women are emotional' and men should be the 'strong silent type' doesn't help either gender. We're all just people.
As a man, we can find it difficult to talk, or the opportunity doesn't present its self, we fear being judged and for it being seen as a sign of weakness.
Our strategy is to reach men in Scotland no matter where and provide the tools and means that empower them to support their own mental fitness through self-management in private and with confidence.
A Digital Safe Space and a mental wellbeing platform for men and those that support them.
DIGITAL. To provide support.
SOCIAL. To build a community.
We are self-funded and rely on donations, including from those personally affected by male suicide.
This is a big responsibility so it is important that we use them as effectively and productively as possible.
We have set out to make BIA an efficient operation by keeping costs to a minimum, to maximise the funds raised to go to the digital services we know are helping men throughout Scotland support and manage their own mental fitness.
And is why we are volunteer-based and use digital technology.
We believe this strategy has the potential to reach every man in Scotland and then beyond because using these effective and 21st Century tools means we can scale up to meet demand quickly and cost-effectively.
We connect via Wi-Fi.
We deliver through digital.
We provide support with a human touch.
In 2014 there were 6,109 suicides in the UK, of which 76%, or 4,623, were male.
Suicide currently stands as the biggest single killer of men aged under 45 in this country.
The ratio of male to female suicide has shown a sustained rise over the last 30 years.
In 1981 men accounted for 62% of suicides in this country.
This increased to 70% in 1988, 75% in 1995 and hit 78% in 2013. (Source: ONS)
At Brothers in Arms, we want to make people aware that suicide is a gender issue.
We want to challenge those social constraints that prevent men from seeking help when they need it.
And we want to support those affected by suicide and depression.
We believe that having a Digital Safe Space allows men to access information and support on their own terms and is a way to start the journey to managing their own mental-fitness
At Brothers in Arms, we believe that there are social and cultural barriers that prevent men from speaking out.
From feedback we’ve received and research conducted men often say that they don’t feel comfortable expressing how they feel when they’re having a bad time.
Because they are expected to be strong at all times.
“Rather than patronisingly insist men ‘talk more’, then blame them when they don’t, we have shown that perhaps it’s time to change how – and where – we listen to men.
And rather than expect men to self-present at their GPs and talk face to face, perhaps we need to take the conversation to them via technology we know they are already comfortable with” Ai and the Secret Life of Men
to ManUp and not doing so equates to weakness or failure as a man, and we become ManDown.
100% all of the time.
We believe in having a digital strategy that provides men in Scotland the means to support their own mental -fitness by using 'Prevention through Self-Management'
Brothers in Arms was launched as a pilot in East Dunbartonshire on the 17th June at the Milngavie Classic Car Show 2017, in response to the amount of male suicide that was happening in the local town of Kirkintilloch.
Inspired by The Calm Zone and Andy Man's Club and because there was nothing comparable in Scotland, we decided with the initial support of See Me Scotland and The East Dunbartonshire Association of Mental Health to create a powerful and effective campaign to directly reach out to men on their terms.
2017- The BIA website was launched
2018- App launch
2019- App update and online coaching launch
2020- App, online coaching and therapy launch
2021- Support channels for those that support men and parents/guardians of boys aged 13+ plus the BIA Portal launched
from an awareness-raising website focussed on both men and their mental health and the high rate of male suicide in Scotland to providing support services using cutting edge technology that enables them to support and self-manage their own mental-fitness, rather than waiting to reach crisis.
The Brothers in Arms website is filled with articles, stories and experiences that are there to both entertain and inform and to speak from the male point of view about being a man in today's society.
And contains links, contacts, films and cutting edge digital tools where men in Scotland, their partners, friends and family can find support that is private, anonymous, confidential and free